Wednesday, December 9, 2009

D'Arcy expedition

Josh and I drove up to Sam's place in D'Arcy last week, and I have only just now had a chance to write about it. Josh beat me to the punch, you can read his version of the trip at his blog. We photographed some of the same stuff, although I didn't photograph the Noxious Weed. Or the CC-177.

It was just an overnight trip, a three hour drive and arriving early afternoon, then leaving early afternoon the following day. We drove into town to see Sam's house and the D'Arcy waterfront (Sam lives in a rental cabin, and rents out his house), then walked back in the bush to see the now abandoned runway.

I had to laugh, Sam invited us to make sandwiches when we arrived, and Josh had to clean Sam's kitchen before attempting to prepare food in it. Usually that's what I do, clean up the kitchen as soon as I arrive there, but this time Josh did it. Since the last time I was there Sam has acquired a dishwasher, so at least the sink wasn't piled high with dirty dishes.

Then there's the dogs, Hapi and Hiro. Very sweet dogs. Huge, but sweet. Their fur is thoroughly matted with burrs from their daily walks in the bush, and it must be over four inches thick. It will have to be cut off before it can be brushed or combed, it is quite badly matted. They are used to sleeping outdoors, Sam has a very good kennel setup for them.

We went for quite a long walk the next morning up a logging road to a viewpoint and then back again in a large loop. It was cold and frosty with snow on the mountains but not in the valley.

The pine beetle is a huge problem in BC, I don't know how much pine forest has been lost to it, but it's a lot. The land where Sam lives has a lot of beautiful old ponderosa pine on it, the owner is trying to save it. This involves cutting down and destroying infected trees, and using pheromones to keep beetles away from healthy trees. They look like little white paper packets stapled to the tree trunks; they are supposed to convince the beetles that these trees are already occupied and they should look elsewhere for a pine tree to infest.

Trees that have to be cut down are debarked so that the cold winter will kill any beetles remaining in the tree.

Beetle traps are also attached to downed trees.

The beetles don't actually kill the tree themselves, but they carry a fungus that clogs the tree phloem and chokes the tree. All the needles turn red and fall off. An infested forest turns red, then grey.

When an infested tree is cut down, you can see the fungus stained wood just under the bark. It turns the wood blue.

They are attempting to market this blue-stained wood as interesting building material; it is still perfectly good pine wood but with a mix of the normal and blue colours.

The drive to and from D'Arcy is magnificent. We had lovely clear sunny weather for it, and Josh was driving so I got to enjoy the scenery. Many mountain vistas, views across Howe Sound to the mountains beyond, the ski hills of Whistler (mountains, not hills), the tall trees, and more.

There was snow on the ground in Whistler and the snow-making machines were very busy there preparing for the Winter Olympics. Josh tells me they imported hundreds of snow making machines for the occasion. Usually Whistler gets more than enough snow, but there has been the occasional winter when nature just didn't come through with the white stuff, so they're not taking any chances.

Security has flipped into high gear here, all the stories I heard about how China allowed no nonsense to occur there during the Olympics is no different from what is happening here. The place is turning into a police state for the occasion.

But I love the time I get to spend in D'Arcy, it is a wonderful place.


Wisewebwoman said...

Lovely photos Annie, sounds like you're enjoying your boys.
Interesting about the reclaimed trees, for my Toronto house I'd bought and installed all these faceplates made out of the wood, they were exquisite, I left them for the purchaser and hope she's enjoying them too.

Barbara Anne said...

Hi Annie! What magnificent surroundings you had to and from D'Arcy! Truly awesome.

So glad you got to be there with two of your sons. Is that you pictured with each of them? If so, your hair is much longer these days but you're certainly looking good!

We're fighting beetles/fungus in trees here in Virginia, too, so I read with interest the fight techniques employed there. I hope it works to save the trees.

Enjoy the season and all there is that you love in the west!


Alan G said...

I can only imagine what it would be like to live in such a location. I am afraid I would just be sitting on the old front porch dawn to dusk taking in nature and doing little of the work I imagine it takes for the upkeep.

Thanks for sharing as always....

Annie said...

Hi WWW, The blue-stained wood is actually quite interesting looking, and I guess there's going to be a lot of it available in the next little while. I've heard that they are battling the beetle in Alberta now, and if they lose the battle there, then all pines across Canada are at risk.

Barbara, it was a really fun trip, I enjoyed being with them immensely. Yes that's me, and I am still debating whether to cut it or not!

Ha Alan! My sentiments exactly. The guys work in the basement of the cabin with a very limited view of the outdoors; I suppose they have to do that in order to get any work done!